A Tees-based footwear retailer is urging people to donate their unwanted shoes to help vulnerable and homeless people through the cold winter months.
Charles Clinkard has teamed up with the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and is calling on its caring customers to drop off shoes they no longer wear to its Middlesbrough store on Corporation Road.
Recent research suggests that at least 320,000 people in Britain are homeless, which includes rough sleepers and people in temporary accommodation.
Despite the already high numbers, it’s thought this figure underestimates the crisis as it doesn’t capture ‘hidden homelessness’, such as those sleeping on sofas or insecurely in cars and sheds.
The ‘Caring Soles’ shoe appeal will run until Christmas Eve and customers will receive a £5 voucher in exchange for their donations.
Managing director Charles Clinkard said: “No one should have to experience homelessness or feel vulnerable and we can only imagine how difficult it must be, especially during winter.
“Something as basic as a warm pair of shoes may not seem like a luxury to many of us, but can make a real difference to those in need.
“We’re asking those who are in a position to help to show compassion and donate.”
All shoes donated to Charles Clinkard will be distributed through the connections of the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
Founder Andy Preston said: “The Foundation was set up by Teessiders for Teessiders and it’s through the efforts of businesses like Charles Clinkard and the people of the North East that we’re able to help those in need.
“Winter is an especially difficult time for vulnerable and homeless people and this shoe appeal is a great example of how our community can rally together to have a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate.”
Shoe donations of any size will be accepted but should be in a wearable condition.